Archive for 'people'
As the pandemic pushes businesses to run their usual operations online, it can be hard to make sure that your virtual teams are working efficiently and productively. Here are some tips to ensure your employees are communicating and working effectively despite being physically distanced.
Use multiple communication tools
The best way to make sure your team members are staying vocal and communicating with each other while physically apart is to use online communication tools. With the surge of digital communication technologies, remote team-building has become much easier as there are a multitude of social platforms to choose from.
Using business messaging platforms as well as programs for conference calls and screen records is helpful in establishing methods for how employees can share their ideas. Setting up different communication channels for separate teams and projects can also help in keeping your digital workplace organised yet communicative.
Include overlapping work hours
Although it may be tempting for employees working from home to work around their own personal schedule with flexible hours, it is important to schedule your employees with overlapping hours so that they can communicate effectively, similar to regular in-office operations. Having your employees work in-real-time together will help prevent miscommunication problems, quick task completion and bring them closer together.
Work with a schedule
Similar to overlapping working hours, the flexibility that comes with working from home may mean employees become unorganised and unaware of their team member’s roles and tasks. As a result, it is important to create a working schedule which all employees have access to and must follow. Constructing a routine for employees to work with, especially in the case of regularly scheduled meetings, reviews and catch-ups, will help employees remain productive and conscious of usual business operations despite being online.
Increasing life expectancy and late retirements mean that businesses need to be ready to welcome more mature-aged workers into their organisation. Workers aged 50 and over are often overlooked by hiring managers, but diversifying your workforce to include this age group could be greatly beneficial to your business.
Businesses are likely to see lower rates of sick leaves and higher loyalty rates amongst mature-aged workers. These low turnover rates can save your business costs relating to recruitment and training, and increase productivity within your workforce.
If your target audience includes an older age demographic, it may be more beneficial to have older employees working for you. By including mature-aged employees, you gain their perspectives of your product, and key insights into how to make your business more attractive to an older customer base.
Upskilling the team
Teams with diverse age groups perform better in the workplace. Older workers are equipped with a wealth of knowledge and skills that younger workers may not have. Less experienced members on your team are likely to learn new skills faster with older mentors on board. This can also help prevent the loss of key skills when older employees transition out of the workforce.
As a result of their experience, older employees are also more adaptable to change and high stress situations, and fill skill gaps in the workplace which leads to more well-rounded teams.
Older employees have a more stable work-life balance. Years of working has provided them with a strong work ethic, and an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. Their work experience helps them perform better in diverse environments, and they have high conflict resolution skills. If your business involves meeting clients, older employees might be more successful by being confident and reassuring from a customer perspective.
As unemployment rates rise and more individuals compete for the same job, businesses with open positions may find themselves flooded with job applications and potential candidates. With so many individuals applying for every open position, how can you find the right employee for you? Here are a few tips to help you with your recruitment selection process.
Keep your job advertisement detailed and concise
With so many job seekers in the market, it is important to filter out who you want to invest time into. To make sure you are only interviewing the best candidates and relevantly skilled individuals are applying for your job, ensure your advertisement lists all the essential requirements for the position.
For example, include your preferred education and qualification levels, required experience, knowledge and skills. It is also a good idea to prescreen potential candidates before inviting them for an interview to make sure you don’t waste time (both for you and the candidate) your selection process is uniform.
Not only will your new employee have to be compatible (in terms of work ethics and career goals) with you as an employer, they also need to be compatible with other employees in your business. It is always a good idea to check whether the candidate has the social skills to get along with others in their team as well as any potential clients they may be interacting with.
Involving current employees in the interviewing process may also help in testing for compatibility. While you can always offer to train employees in effective communication, with so many fish in the sea, consider whether or not social skills training is worth your time when there could be more socially adept candidates.
Test the waters
In addition to having a probation period for any new employees, don’t be afraid to offer a position through an internship first. Not only does an internship allow employers to assess whether or not a new employee is capable for the job, it also allows the employee to assess whether or not the position or the business is right for them. Under the correct legal terms, internships may also be unpaid. However, in the event that your open position is a mid-senior level position, internships will not be effective as candidates will feel their skills and experience are undermined.
Approaching strangers at networking events can seem intimidating, but shying away from interaction means you could be missing out on some great business opportunities. Here are some ways you can comfortably approach people and make a good first impression.
It’s essential that you know the nature of the networking event you plan on attending. Make sure that you know the meeting agenda, workshops available, dress code, revent schedule, and the host, companies and people that will be attending. If particular participants stand out to you, do some background research on them to get an idea of what they do and who they are so that you can narrow down who to talk to and what to talk about when you see them.
People are more likely to want to talk to you if you look approachable. Try to avoid standing in the corner avoiding eye contact with people, and instead placing yourself somewhere others can see you. Studies have shown that people are 86 percent more likely to talk to strangers on the street if they’re smiling, so don’t be afraid to keep a smile on your face, especially when someone looks your way.
Ask open-ended questions
Open ended questions are more likely to sustain a longer conversation and help you build rapport with someone more quickly. Close-ended questions that require one or two word answers may be useful for establishing basic facts about the other person (e.g. what do you do? Where did you study?), but mixing in open-ended questions that allow you to talk descriptively and passionately can prevent the conversation from getting stagnant or dull.
Be an active listener
With so many conversations, events, and people, networking events are often full of distractions. However, when you engage with someone, it’s important that you don’t let what’s going on around you distract you from listening. Try to remember their basic details, such as their name and company, so that you can recall them later if you see each other again and demonstrate your interest and polite character. Make appropriate eye contact with the person you’re talking to and ask them relevant questions about what they’re saying to show your engagement.
Ending a conversation can be awkward for both parties, and you may fear that you’re being rude if you initiate the goodbye. Remember that parting ways is a normal part of a conversation, and the other person may be just as keen to go and explore the rest of the event as you are. The easiest time to end an interaction is when there is a lull in the conversation. When this happens, politely let the other party know that it was a pleasure to meet them and thank them for their time. If you would like to connect later on, you could suggest a future meeting, exchange details, give them your business card, or send them a message on LinkedIn.
Demonstrating strong interpersonal skills in the workplace can boost your performance and improve your experience at work by promoting positive workplace relationships. Interpersonal skills that will help employees thrive amongst each other can include communication skills, negotiation, problem solving, teamwork, decision making, empathy and assertiveness. Here are some ways you can develop your interpersonal skills for the workplace.
Refine your workplace etiquette
Demonstrating appropriate workplace behaviour can show your colleagues that you are a team player and that you care about them and the job. This can include being punctual to work and meetings, being courteous, showing respect, being cooperative, taking initiative, and dressing appropriately.
Strive for conflict resolution
Always talk to your fellow employees with respect, even when a disagreement is at hand. If your words or tone of voice are condescending, rude, or inconsiderate, it can damage workplace relationships and reflect badly upon you. When conflict arises, opt to talk things through by identifying the problem and working with others to come to an agreeable solution instead of acting irrationally or avoiding communication.
Be an active listener
Actively listening to someone doesn’t just mean sitting there and not interrupting them. To be an active listener, avoid only engaging with someone on a passive level. Instead, enter the conversation like you also have something to gain from it and you may find yourself not only learning more, but making others feel understood and heard. Be open minded and empathetic when listening to someone’s perspectives, and demonstrate your engagement with responsive body language.
Be receptive to feedback
Feedback can come in the form of someone telling you that you hurt their feelings, they didn’t like the way you behaved, or asking you to do something differently next time. Don’t brush these comments off, but take the time to think about where they might be coming from or ask them to elaborate. If their feedback makes sense, it gives you a great opportunity to work on a particular area after seeing where you went wrong. You can also ask for feedback on your interpersonal skills from coworkers and managers.
As the majority of the workforce transitions to working from home and we rely on the digital world to connect with our colleagues – employers and employees alike – we should consider the future possibilities for recruitment and a digital workplace. A few terms like “remote team” and “virtual team” are constantly being thrown around but what exactly do they mean and how can you incorporate them into your own workplace?
What is a remote team?
A remote team is composed of workers who work together on one project while geographically distanced either one another or the rest of the business. This does not have to mean that remote teams and workers are working from home, rather includes people working from different cities and even countries.
A remote team of workers is beneficial for businesses which are looking to improve employee retention – as employees are more likely to stay at a business where they can conveniently get to work. Opening up your recruitment process to form a remote team also means you have a wider range of talent to choose from as you are no longer limited to your local area as you would with commuting employees.
However, remote teams may pose a problem if your business does not have the adequate technology, coordination system and monitoring facilities to reproduce or surpass the productivity levels that you otherwise would have with in-house employees. When looking to incorporate a remote team into your business, be mindful of how they will communicate with each other as well as your in-house employees, and fit into your established business process.
What is a virtual team?
A virtual team consists of team members who report to different team managers or team leaders, whether working remotely or not. The term “virtual” refers to a defined system rather than anything digitalised.
Instead of a hierarchy system, virtual teams are more collaborative and are led through influence rather than a traditional up-down system. Virtual teams foster an interdependent workplace culture, where a business decision does not depend on any one person but becomes more of a unified process. Businesses which have a number of different virtual teams with a group of co-located team leaders are more cooperative and united in nature, although some may struggle with the lack of authoritative work culture in “horizontal” cross-functioning teams.
The key difference between remote teams and virtual teams is where their members work from. Remote workers are always working away from the main company body, whereas this is not necessarily the case for virtual workers. Despite working geographically apart, remote teams operate as employees would in a traditional workplace system, in that there is some form of hierarchy. Virtual teams however refer to the concept of being an effective team with a horizontal approach, where workers can work both in-house or remotely.
Communication is a huge part of business productivity, however, businesses who have made a recent shift from face-to-face work to working remotely can find it difficult to adapt and maintain effective communication. But just because you no longer see your staff face-to-face doesn’t mean that your communication has to suffer.
Have a communication plan
Whether it’s having a set schedule for work calls and virtual meetings, or requiring employees to provide reports or updates at certain times, having a clear communication plan can help keep your staff on track with their work and with each other. It’s a good idea to keep a record of this in writing by using tools such as shared calendars or reminders.
Utilise messaging tools
Messages are a great way to communicate with your staff and keep a written account of tasks and ideas. If your business relies on teamwork, then having group messaging chats are essential to keeping everyone on the same page, otherwise, miscommunication and confusion are huge risks. This will also give employees the opportunity to chat amongst each other in a group setting as they would normally do in the workplace, and can help them retain a positive work attitude through providing a sense of collegiality and normalcy.
Provide performance feedback
With everyone working remotely, it can be hard to monitor the performance and quality of your employees. Providing performance feedback fortnightly or monthly can help your employees continue to learn and improve, as well as keeping them productive knowing that their work will be reviewed.
Providing a positive and encouraging comment in the office seems very natural and easy to do, but when it comes to remote workers, it is easy for employers and managers to forget about taking the time to show recognition for the work employees are doing. Just like anyone else, remote employees should receive adequate praise and recognition for the high-quality work they do; without it they are likely to become disengaged.
Retaining your employees is often a harder task than you think, especially during fluctuating economic conditions and with a growingly skilled and talented workforce. Here are some tips you can implement into your workplace culture to help you retain employees and make sure they are happy working with you!
Provide quality leadership, management and supervision
Employees more often than not leave jobs because of their managers, bosses and supervisors rather than the job itself. To make sure your employees have a good experience working for you, provide them with educational and warm leadership. Here are a few things to keep in mind when leading and teaching your employees:
- Be clear about your expectations
- Be clear about each employee’s earning potential and update them whenever possible
- Provide concise and constructive feedback on their performance
Allow employees to grow their talents and skills
Learn about your employees and allow them to utilise their skill sets and talents within the work delegated to them in your business. As an employee, what’s even worse than a bad manager is the inability to grow their skills and be challenged at work. Never box your employees into rigid work procedures and allow a degree of freedom and room for growth for your employees.
Reward your employees
Keep employees happy to work for you and give you their all by constantly incentivising them with rewards. Whether your rewards are monetary or speak to their emotional needs, employees need to be motivated to keep working for you while also remaining productive and doing their best for you. Consider making your rewards personalised to each employee to make them more effective.
Respect and appreciate your employees
Tied in with the previous point of employees leaving their positions as a result of their bosses, showing your appreciation and respecting your employees goes a long way in influencing your best employees to stay with your business. A positive and amicable work culture often makes or breaks a business and not only should you respect your employees, all of your employees should be respectful and appreciative of each other. Building a respectful community in your workplace is certainly a plus when considering how to retain employees.
With COVID-19 threatening the health and safety of all communities around the world, it is now more important than ever to practise social distancing in the workplace. Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases and as the name implies, lessens the amount of contact between you and other people.
It is important to apply social distancing wherever possible within your workplace to minimise the risks of person-to-person infection and fulfil the responsibility you have to the safety and health of your colleagues and clients.
In the context of a workplace, social distancing means avoiding direct contact with your colleagues through a number of effective methods, including:
- Staying at home if you feel unwell or are sick
- Implementing work-from-home measures wherever possible
- Dividing in-office work hours between employees to reduce the number of people in an indoor space at any given time
- Stopping handshaking as a greeting – emerging alternatives include the “elbow bump” or a pat on the back
- Moving office meetings to online video or phone calls
- Limiting food handling and sharing of food in the workplace
- Having employees take lunch at their desk rather than in a communal lunchroom
- Cancelling non-essential business travels
- Promoting good hygiene practice such as coughing/sneezing into elbows
- Providing disinfectants and hand sanitisers for all staff to use during working hours
- Opening windows and adjusting air conditioning for better ventilation
As COVID-19 grows in severity, consider how you can enforce any of the above social distancing measures in your workplace and how you can encourage others to do the same.
Diversity and Inclusion is a growing concept that many businesses – from SMEs to MNCs – all around the world are grappling to understand and implement into their workplace. But what exactly does D&I entail and why is it becoming so important for businesses and employees?
Social inequality has long been a complex global problem and to this day, stakeholders from individuals to governments and businesses are working towards resolving the unfair distribution of opportunities due to individual differences. In the business world, this means accepting, hiring and including employees of all ethnicities, cultures, sexualities and with physical or mental disabilities.
Harmonious workplace culture has always been an integral aspect to business success and D&I is evolving into a necessary addition to all internal workplace procedures. In Australia, D&I mostly consists of diverse cultural recognition and free expression of sexuality, through employee programs and services. While difficult to implement and even harder to enforce, D&I has become vital to businesses and employees because of a couple of reasons:
- Employee Engagement:
A company which stands for cultural, ethnical, sexual and more types of diversity and protects the freedoms and social rights of its employees is bound to earn the favour of its workers. Not only do employees feel safe to express themselves at work, but they also learn to accept the different circumstances of their peers.
- Company Confidence:
With happy employees comes a happy and successful business. With workers feeling safe and appreciated at their workplace, productivity naturally increases and workflow also becomes smoother. Business operations automatically become more efficient and profitable, adding positively to the company’s image and confidence.
- Attracting Potential Talent:
Similar to employee engagement, a harmonious and safe workplace will attract potential employees and talents. For example, if a company was to have a disability-inclusive program for its employees, disabled and capable talents are more likely to reach out and work with the business.
Currently, D&I is still a relatively new concept to businesses and it has been difficult for businesses to implement D&I strategies effectively considering there are not many earlier examples to follow. However, it is never too late to learn more about D&I and consider implementing the idea into your workplace culture.